Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: (Toronto) #WeddingMusical (Fringe)

Ah! The Potential!
by Dave Ross

Bad Dress Productions has returned to the Toronto Fringe with their original musical #WeddingMusical (you pronounce the hashtag, but we all know that anyways, right?). It’s got a lot of potential to be a Fringe gem – a live orchestra, powerful voices, and a neato book.

Unfortunately, on opening night, most of this potential was lost. The production was plagued by a number of technical issues, all related to audio. Every instrument is amplified, some to the point of obliterating the other instruments (I’m looking at you on the bass). The performers are amplified as well, but not above the music. I missed the entire opening number – it was a lot of thumping bass, and a bit of shoo-wop from the performers. After that, mics remained on when actors were off stage, mics were picking up breathing, feedback was painful in the first half of the show, and to cap it all off, there were some serious intonation issues, both with singers and instruments – perhaps due to a lack of monitors for the performers?

A lot of effort has gone into this production, and it has a lot of potential to be funny. There are weaknesses in the book (like having two performers play two different characters each makes the ensemble number at the end impossible – where are these other two characters we’ve gotten to know so well?). But this is Fringe, and one of the better-produced shows I’ve seen. Unfortunately, the tech problems obscure a lot of the good (it’s a musical, and I need to hear the words), and the wardrobe is in serious need of an iron. Bad Dress has invested a lot in this show, and the performers look like they are playing dress up. They could also benefit a great deal from a conductor. 

I’d add this show to my Fringe list if I had the time, but put your ear to the ground/twitter first, and see if they’ve got their tech problems sorted out.  

July 2 - 13

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